This is a very modest attempt to create a list of books (fiction and non fiction) of Hindi literature (and also Indian literature) that one must read. Feel free to add more in the comments. The list is very random and haphazard and will be updated from time to time. This post does not claim to be any authority on must-read list of Hindi or Indian literature. Do add in comments books that you like or you think one should read in Hindi, Tamil, Telgugu, Bengali, Urdu and other Indian languages. The first set in Hindi fonts were typed by a friend; it has works by Hazariprasad Dwivedi, Bhisma Sahani, Renu, Premchand adn others. Occasionally it has books of English literature (when I copy paste from my reading list, sorry for that). Best book review site remains Goodreads dot com though not for Hindi or Indian literature.
- बाणभट्ट की आत्मकथा, अनामदास का पोथा, चारुचन्द्रलेख, पुनर्नवा – हजारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी
- परख, त्यागपत्र, कल्याणी, सुनीता, सुखदा, – जैनेन्द्र
- दिव्या, अमिता, झूठा सच,दादा कॉमरेड – यशपाल
- नाच्यौ बहुत गोपाल, अमृत और विष – अमृतलाल नागर
- कुरु कुरु स्वाहा, कसप, क्याप – मनोहर श्याम जोशी
- मैला आँचल, परती परिकथा – रेणु
- चित्रलेखा, भूले बिसरे चित्र – भगवतीचरण वर्मा
- वयं रक्षामः, वैशाली की नगरवधू – आचार्य चतुरसेन शास्त्री
- रंगभूमि, गबन, गोदान – प्रेमचंद
- कंकाल, तितली -जयशंकर प्रसाद
- महाभोज, आपका बंटी – मन्नू भंडारी
- गुनाहों का देवता – धर्मवीर भारती
- देहाती दुनिया – शिवपूजन सहाय
- बलचनमा – नागार्जुन
- सारा आकाश – राजेंद्र यादव
- शेखर एक जीवनी – अज्ञेय
- अँधेरे बंद कमरे – मोहन राकेश
- तमस – भीष्म साहनी
- आधा गाँव – राही मासूम रज़ा
- नीला चाँद – शिवप्रसाद सिंह
- मुझे चाँद चाहिए – सुरेन्द्र वर्मा
- दीवार में एक खिडकी रहती थी – विनोद कुमार शुक्ल
- राग दरबारी – श्रीलाल शुक्ल
- मछली मरी हुई – राजकमल चौधरी
- एक चूहे की मौत – बदीउज्ज़मा
- काशी का अस्सी – काशीनाथ सिंह
- Murdahiya by Tulsi Ram- Very good Dalit autobiography, very humourous.
Copied from my books I read list. it has some date and time stamps with quick notes and review, please ignore that.
1. NBT- Mahashweta devi ki shrestha kahaniyan: read ‘Shikaar’ (Daltonganj-Gomo line village; Mary, white Oraon girl teaches the ultimate lesson to thekedar Tahsildar Singh. Touched by it! 6 Oct 2012
2. Mannu Bhandari ki Shreshta kahaniyaan, NBT, 6 Oct 2012. Story ‘Shamshan’; very good. Shamshan wanting to be like human beings; ‘Akeli’ (old woman not invited at weddings etc.), Chhat bananaewala (refelctions on joint family and patriarchal life seen though a young man’s eye visiting his erstwhile village)
3. Bharat ke Adivasi Kshetron ki lokkathaein, NBT, 6 Oct 2012: read Munda Lokkatha ‘chhoti bahu’ (story of 7 sisters, 6 deformed, one snake, jealously) and few others. Edited/comiled by Sharad Singh.
4. NBT Qurtalain Haider ki shresta kahaniyaan: Read ‘photography’. Kalandar etc.
5. NBT; Hindi translation of AK Ramanujan’s ‘Bharat ki lokkathaein’: read many (one story related to King asking three girls the greatest pleasure lies in ? (Lies- answer).
6. Everyone loves a Good Drought by P. Sainath (2012). Some chapters esp on Palamau.
7. NBT, Ashapurna Devi ki shrestha kahaniyan: Read ‘Beabaru’- a short story of a man named Nani Thakur who gave all his to a village post-retirement (age 92) and the village/youth ignores him!
8. Reading NBT Hindi translation of Yantram (Yantra novel) by Mallyattoor Ramakrishnan: Civil services training etc. (early Nov 2012)
9. Read story ‘Deputy Collectery’ by kamalkant: very good. Pain of a father as he sees his son preparing for CS (3rd attempt).
10. Read ‘Nagarjuna poems and Shamsher bahadur pratinidhi poems by Rajkamal parakashan.
11. 17 Nov 2012, 10 pm: Abhi abhi Joothan khatam kiya hai; thee tha. first half better. By Omprakash Valmiki.
Kahi kahi to coherence hi nahi hai story me.
Kuchh bhaag to ekdam gayab hai book se (ma baap 2-3 line me hi mar gaye; shadi achanak ho gayi etc. brahmin ladki vala mandir episode badhiya hai); ye poori atmkatha nhi balki sirf dalit bhaag bali katha hai.
Last me valmiki title ka dard kaafi acchha likha hai. 159 pages, hardbound, Radhakrishna Prakashan.
12. Q hairder NBT shrestha kahaniyaan: Kalandar (artful Ikbal Bakhat) adn Karmin (lover girl waiting for her guy!).
13.23 Nov 2012: read Agyeye edited ‘naye ekanki’ : Basant by Agyeya; Mahabhrat ki ek saanjh by Bharatbhushan aggrawal; ek din in same book.
14. 24 Nov 2012: read V Tendulkar play ‘Ghasiram Kotwal’; Peshwa’s corrupt mantrin Nana Phadnawis and his exploitation. Ghasiram (Later made Kotwal of Pune) angrily administers the city with permits after giving his daughter to Nana (who kills her with sexual exploitation). Ghasiram killed at end by Brahmin mob. This one is for theatre viewing, not for reading.
15. Read Henrik Ibsen’s play ‘When we dead awake’; written in 1899. Conversations between Prof. Sculptor Rubek and Irene, her initial muse, his wife Maia in the mountains.
16. Read half of Helen Keller’s autobiography
17. Story ‘King Grisly-Beard’, Hans in Luck, in Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Puffin classics).
18. Samyik Ekanki (text book, Rajpal, edited by Bhaskarmaiya et al.): Babur ki mamta by DevendraNath Sharma (Babur gave life to save Humanyun), Akhbari vigyapan by chiranjeet (comedy, satire: wife blasting husband for ad about new wife); Gaon se Shehar tak (Safdar?): Chaudhary-Mahajan duo swindling the poor kisan, scens of factory, unemployment, city life etc.
19. Urdu-Hindi Hasya-Vyang ed. by Ravindranath Tyagi (Rajkamal) a. Cinema ksras Bukhari b. Pragatisheel Kabristan by SH Manto c. Virginia Woolf se sab darte hain by Sharad Joshi.
20. Henrik Ibsen’s ‘A DOll’s house’ (in Kindle on 27 Nov 2012): story of a woman seeking freedom from a husband who cared too much of hounour to be able to love and give; The Lady from the Sea (28 Nov 201): stoyr of a woman seeking true freedom accepts her husbands and spurns her killer lover. I was thinking it would end like the Doll’s house but thankfully did not. I have read three of Ibsen’s plays so far and liked the ‘Doll’s House’ most. Will watch its adaptation (Gaurayye ka ghar) in Delhi soon at the Ibsen festival, December 2012.
21. Reading kafka’s Metamorphosis in Kindle, 28 Nov 2012.Finished 29 Nov, 2012. Famous story of the man transformed into an insect and the life as he sees it, his family reaction etc.
22. Read many pages from ‘Khattar kaka’ by Harimohan Jha. Rajkamal Prakashan. 27 Nov 2012.
23. Poem ‘ballad of a reading gaol’ by OScar wilde, 30 Nov 2012
24. Kalevala: epic poem on Finaland; some pages and intro, 30 Nov 2012
26. Some pages of Mighty Mikko: Finnish tales for English children, 30 Nov 2012
27. Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things fall apart’ , one chapter on 30 Nov 2012
28. Vipatra by Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh, 2 pages, 29 Nov 2012
29. Nirmal Verma’s Europe travelogue ‘Cheedon pe Chandani’ , first ten pages on 27 Nov 2012.
30. Vinod Bhatt’s ‘Bhool Chook Leni Deni’: some pages/chapters (hasya essays like ‘aapko diabetes hai? Badhai ho!).1 Dec 2012
27. Ravindranath tyagi vyang, Rajkamal Parakashan.
29. Poem Pratinidhi kavitayein by Kedarnath Aggarwal and GM Muktibodh; SOme pages; Rajkamal Prakashan.
30.Read these partially/fully in 2010-2012
a. Delta of Venus by Anais Ninn; read many stories from it.
b. Erotica thick volume (Wordsworth publications)
c. Tobatek Singh Stories by Manto, Penguin Eng translation
d. Tales from Shakespeare
e. Sudeep Sen: English poetry, edited volume
f. Collings Improve Your Writing Skills
g. Write RIght
h. The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Pierce.
i. Helen Keller biography, many pages, DOver publications
31. Reading Death of a Salesman, Early Dec 2012, play by Arthur Miller.
32. Read Ghatshraadh stories by UR Ananthamurthy; 2 stories. Don’t miss Sanskar by UR Anathamurthy (I read Hindi translation by Rajkamal Prakashan).
33. Divya by Yashpal: based on Buddha period, so far 30 pages; tough Buddha period vocabulary.
34. ‘Manto: Ek badnaam Lekhak’ by Vinod Bhatt; essay, some stories. Read many pages. Nov, 2012
35. Amrita Pritam’s ‘chuni hui kavitayein’ by Gyanpeeth prakashan; some pages in Sep 2012.
36. story ‘Shanichari’ in Int ke oopar Int, edited volume of stories: Rajkamal Parakashan. By Mahashweta Devi. Brick bhatthi, migration from forests, all sorts of exploitation (including rape) at workplace.
37. Best of Guy de Maupassant (RUpa publications) stories: Was it a dream (dead tombstones moving, lover’s realization), 8 Dec 2012.
38. Lal Paan ki begum (story) by Phanishwarnath Renu (in ‘Thumari’ : story collection; Rajkamal Parakashan).
39. Nikolai Gogol stories; Hindi translation by Parikalpana prakashan. Read the story ‘naak’ (The Nose): story of the missing nose!14 Dec 2012, some 40 pages.
40. Started ‘Anamdas ka Potha’ by Hazariprasad Dwivedi. Mahrshi Raikva’s story. 14 Dec 2012. FInished in 9-10 hours. Story of Rishi Vaikya (upnishad) and his attraction to Jabala, daughter of Raja Janashruti. 276 pages;very good, philosophical, quest for truth (brahma).
41. Read 104 pages or 6 chapters of the Hobbit on 17 Dec (in some 4-5 hours ) with the aim of catching the 11 pm show at PVR Priya 2d. Went for film after some days of it; liked the film.
42. Chattano me aag by Ibn e Safi;150 small pages, Harper Collins. 20 Dec 2012
43. Story named ‘Arth’ in Billesur Bakriha by Suryakant Tripatha Nirala. Ishwar hi arth hai.22 Dec 2012
44. Urdu ki aankhiri kitaab, by Ibne Insha; a book of vyang; read some pages, interesting. Rajkamal Paperbacks. 21 Dec 2012
45. Appki Chhoti ladki, short story by Mamta Kalia; 62 pages in Harper Collins. Story of Tunia, who is ignored in the family and made to do all the work (in contrast to the life of her elder sister). 23 Dec 2012
46. Read ‘Mitramilan tatha anya kahaniyaan‘; Read some 9 stories, very very good (Mitramilan: friend, now old, meeting; Ladka Ladki, Phark, Basti, Sham, Shaktishali, Ladki aur Adarsh, Maitri, Nirvasit). Modern Premchand? Very good stories from every day life and refelction of people and society. 22 Dec 2012; hardbound, Lokbharti prakashan.
47. Read few pages from ‘YE KOTHEWALIAN‘ by Amritlal Nagar; lokbharti paperbacks. A book written on the condition of kothewaliyaan for a desire of the president Rajendra Prasad.
48. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF AMBAR SEN , Feluda story, 20 pages in the full collection. Trick played by the kid and her family to test Feluda’s skills. 24 Nov 2012, before going in bed.
49. Started BANBHATT KI ATMKATHA by Hazariprasad Dwivedi, read the intro only. Looks promising like his Anamdas ka potha. 24 Dec 2012, night. Finished 30 Dec 2012, 1235 am. 292 pages. Story of Banbhatt, Nipunia (his stage assitant) and Bhattini (Tuwarmilind’s daughter who was abducted). Good. Need second reading with better Sanskritic, hindi Vocabulary. Must read all by Hazariprasad Dwivedi.
50. Short stories: Parda by Yashpal (Bahut marmik, gareeb jeevan, middle-class ka jabardast chitran) and Saja by Mannu Bhandari ( how process of court-kutchery is a pain in itself; Pappa got 2 years in jail and 4 years before Rihai!) in Rajendra yadav edited Katha yatra. 1 Jan 2013, started on 31 Dec 2012 mid-night.
51. Hindi Novel: Kyap by Manohar Shayam Joshi (story of early 20th C political and social life of small, sleepy Himalayan town), 4 Jan 2013, on p. 50. Finished on night of 9 Jan 2013, 151 pages, Vani Prakashan. Critique of the shallow communism in India, youth’s idealism, satire, comical, the story of the protagonist, his kranti, and Kasturikot (Valmiki Nagar, esp Faskiyadhar). On page 32, he has said that ‘kyap’ means ajeeb sa, andekha sa, angradha sa, nirashajan apratyashit sa etc.
52. Joker’ : story by Amarkant; read 10 Jan power cut, 9 pm, about 15 pages. Story of a middle-aged man who didn’t get sexual satisfaction in life, unfilled aspirations of enjoying a beauty and becomes unhappy and lecherous.
53. Yashpal’s short story ‘Atithya’ , 11 Jan 2013, night, power cut. In Lokbharti paperbacks story edition book of Yashpal.
54. fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, 12 Jan 2013, night. Short sweet story of three horrible farm men hunting a family of fox with tractors and men and Mr. Fox getting the better off them (all tunnelling inside) and even helping other underground animals while stealing food from farm owner’s homes only. total pages 82 with big fonts and diagrams. Doal’s motto in life:
55. Read Punarnava about 150 pages in train in SCMM Mumbai 20 Jan 2013 trip. By Hazariprasad dwivedi.
56. March 2013: Read ‘zingai aur zonk’ story by amar kant (about a beggar) in edited book of stories by Rajendra Yadav (Ek Duniya Samanantar).
57. Late Feb, 2013: The diary of a space traveller, chapter 1 by Satyajit Roy.
58. Shooting an Elephant and other Essays by George Orwell.
Some BOOKS TO BUY:
The other side of silence or its Hindi translation by Vani, Urvashi Butalia; Harsh Mander Unheard voices etc. Robert service bio of Lenin, Stalin 250 Each at Book Cart; kids books in ground carton.
Buy Kyap by M Joshi, Penguin 50 Rs ones by Ruskin, Premchand etc.
Shekhar ek jeevni, comes in 2 vols.